In addition to the traditional shops located in old Suzhou, there are modern international shopping malls and centres such as Times Square, Shin Kong Place, Harmony Plaza, Eslite Bookstore and InCity Mall that house clothing, homeware and electronics stores as well as supermarkets, restaurants and coffee shops.


In addition to the many local food shops selling fresh fruit, vegetables and meat and convenience stores, Suzhou also has a number of large international supermarkets selling Chinese and imported food. There are also a variety of smaller international food stores.


There is almost a coffee shop on every corner in Suzhou and most have free Wi-Fi access. You can find all of the major international coffee chains while the city also has an number of independent coffeehouses – be sure to check them out at the popular Pingjiang Road.


In addition to the Dushu Lake Higher Education Town sports centre and sports facilities around campus, SIP also has a wide choice of gyms and facilities. Sporting events are also held throughout the year including the Suzhou Jinji Lake half marathon in April and a Tai Lake half marathon in November. For those of you who enjoy cycling there are also many activities that take place.


Shanghai is also a short train ride away and attracts top bands and DJs from around the world, and offers even wider selection of international shopping and dining options than Suzhou. Many XJTLU students make regular weekend trips to the city.


There are plenty of good low-to-medium budget dining options around XJTLU, including Subway, KFC, McDonalds, and many good Asian fast-food options. There’s also the ever-popular Zemo Café with a range of coffees, sandwiches and pastries. Some restaurants in the local area cater to special dietary requirements such as halal or vegetarian.


Suzhou cuisine is one of the eight famous Chinese cuisines with specialties that include hairy crab and ‘squirrel’ fish. Traditional restaurants can be found downtown on streets such as Guanqian Jie, Ganjiang Lu, Shiquan Jie and Xueshi Jie. Li Gong Di causeway in Suzhou Industrial Park also has a number of Chinese restaurants.


There are international restaurants, catering to a wide range of tastes and requirements, all over Suzhou Industrial Park, especially at areas around Jinji Lake including Xingdu Plaza, Li Gong Di, Moon Harbour and Times Square. Home delivery service Sherpas covers most of the international restaurants in Suzhou.


There are several cinemas located around Suzhou, which all have showings in both Chinese and English. Suzhou is also home to two amusement parks – Ferris Wheel Park in SIP and Amusement Land in the New District – as well as a water park.

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KTV is one of the most common activities amongst students in China. KTV venues are everywhere in Suzhou and consist of small, medium and large rooms that a group of friends can rent by the hour to socialise, sing, eat, drink, and even watch movies.


Suzhou has a host of pubs and bars. Bars in the area surrounding the University include Hakuna Matata and Rainbow, and staff and students often unwind in the seated area outside imported food supermarket Victor in the spring and summer months. Also, Coconut Bar at the nearby Genway Mansion on Dushu Lake is a great option for an authentic western-style bar experience.

In Suzhou Industrial Park, Li Gong Di ‘1912’ area has several bars including Ollie’s, Jenny’s and Goodfellas, which all feature daily happy hour deals and live music. The Blue Marlin nearby is also very popular. Shiquan Jie Bar Street in downtown is another popular spot and includes The Bookworm, Drunken Clam, and Jane’s bar.

For those wanting an authentic Chinese club experience, Inpub, Phebe and Pandora, located in the old Suzhou area are a good choice. In Suzhou Industrial Park, Li Gong Di becomes especially lively at the weekends thanks to nightclubs such as Pravda, which attracts a large number of international and Chinese party-goers.

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